Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Mother of All Vampires

When I started this blog a few years back, all I was interested in was schlupping around the margins of town, the alleys and byways that snake around largely unnoticed in our little berg. But then I noticed how that physical alley grazing was mostly an excuse to roam around my mind at the same time. So today is my day to mentally graze. Amazing what shows up!

So this morning, having recently embarked on a new and
delightful relationship with a man I have known for some time, I ran into the hulking monster of SELF DOUBT. When I doubt myself and my choices, I also doubt every right and wonderful thing that is happening in my life. Self doubt is the ultimate robber baron, plucking the numinous and joyous, the splendid, the sublime, right out of your fingers, then throwing it down and stomping on it.

And it was right there, lying in wait for me when I woke up. Of course it took quite a while to recognize the beast for what she is. She dresses up in all kinds of disguises like 'my protector', 'intelligent inquiry', 'critical thinking', 'no one's pulling the wool over my eyes'...

It's not like this is a new realization about self doubt and the power it has over me. No, I come by here every few months, but each time it seems brand new. Maybe because I take the scenic route through new depths of despair, through the annihilation of what I know to be true, to finally recognize the she-bitch, once again.

Since one of my best friends has been working on a book about metaphorical vampires, The Practical Vampire Slayer, we have been having a lot of fun using the tools she proposes.
Anything that sucks your vitality, hijacks your concentration, and/or compromises your great personality might be a candidate for vampire of the hour, day, or month. For me, that is mostly my crappy thinking. Any downturn into bitterness, criticism or despair needs a second look for what is driving that. So now it's almost like coming across a familiar face in a crowd. Oh, you again.

According to the practical vampire slayer and all vampire literature, the vampire needs an invitation to come in. So I think about how did I invite this in? Why in the world would I want to take an uzi to my dreams and hopes, my fondest assumptions about my future (even if only momentarily)? That is masochism to the nth power.

For me it always comes back to the Marianne Williamson quote that Nelson Mandela delivered to the world in his 1994 inaugural speech,

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..."
My terror of that power within, could that be my invitation?
"Ah, excuse me, Miss, could you take the edge off that power I'm so freaking terrorized by? Oh, yeah, thanks, now I don't feel powerful at all, or even connected to anything powerful. Thanks, now I feel like a whimpering cur. That's much better." Or something like that. The invitation, I didn't hear myself make, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

From what I understand, Spirit responds to all our requests (which must be quite a trick, considering the completely contradictory nature of desire and the non-stop attempts to fulfill it), so the invitation could have been issued in the intake of a breath, in an instant of fear or doubt. So having looked it over, I revoke that invitation to SELF DOUBT and reclaim my God-given power to have a great day and a fabulous life.

For me, as I imagine it is for you, at times each day, there seem to be vigorous wrestling matches between opposing thoughts. Today, I just happened to listen in, and boy, was I surprised. Other days, maybe I just experience the malaise and wonder what's going on. Am I getting the flu? Or I attack someone, maybe only in my thoughts, because this churning is making me so uncomfortable. Taking time to graze inside, especially when it gets nasty in there, is always a revelation.

Ultimately, when I expose the false assumptions, the self doubt, or the desire to attack, for what
they truly are, I find nothing much. A bunch of smoke and mirrors that clouds the truth and throws me off track. Self doubt tells me that 'this isn't going to work out'. But it says it about everything I really do care about. It is a one-size-fits-all, shop-worn slogan that just doesn't fly anymore for me. I can't tell you how many perfectly good jobs, relationships, and situations I have left over the years.

No doubt these escapes were prompted by this exact thought, "this will never work". Now the familiar whiff of negativity in my thinking is a dead giveaway. But still, I get led around by the nose for a couple minutes, maybe an hour or a day. Throwing the laser light of clarity and positive beliefs onto this 'boogey man' does the trick.

Another way of looking at Self Doubt is the concept of the predator in Clarissa Pinkola Estes classic, Women Who Run With the Wolves. The predator is like a wolf that prowls around the edges of your thoughts and gobbles up all your half baked plans, the dreams you ignore, those great intentions.

So in terms of "I am woman hear me roar", If I don't put some mojo behind that belief, it will just get chewed up and swallowed by the 'predator' along with all those new years resolutions, plans to travel the world, to-do lists, and other calves too
weak to keep up with the herd. If you think about it, its kind of ecological to have something sweeping up all the beliefs and half-baked schemes that would otherwise be cluttering up my mind like debris along the highway.

So whether I see my self doubt as 'the mother of all vampires', the human condition, or a community minded wolf, the fact is that I have incredible choices:
1. I'm not my thoughts
2. I can discover what is making me unhappy (hint: it is always a thought)
3. I can throw light on whatever it is, because I have that power
4. Or I can wallow for as long as I like!

This is the beauty of grazing for me....
I look around in the weeds
and broken bottles,

the rusting auto parts,
that greasy
shadow where
motor oil slumped into the weeds
and there , off to the side,

almost hidden by a plastic grocery bag, the
wild viola shines, with snow on the leaves.
or maybe,
a poppy in a traffic clogged corner of Seattle's University district